Ubisoft has announced a last-minute delay to its upcoming hack-'em-up Watch_Dogs, which sees the game's November release date slip to early 2014.
Watch_Dogs has now been pushed back to spring 2014 from its November schedule, impacting next-gen console pre-order bundles.
Watch_Dogs is an undeniably ambitious cross-platform project: Ubisoft's plans for the title include Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii U current-generation console releases alongside simultaneous availability on the next-generation Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles. The game was also due to hit Windows PCs, and raised eyebrows with some demanding specifications which see a 64-bit OS, 6GB of memory and a quad-core CPU demanded as an absolute minimum.
The original schedule has slipped, however, with Ubisoft claiming the game needs some last-minute polishing before it's ready to ship. 'Our ambition from the start with Watch_Dogs has been to deliver something that embodies what we wanted to see in the next generation of gaming. It is with this in mind that we've made the tough decision to delay the release until spring 2014,
' an Ubisoft spokesperson explained in a statement.
'We know a lot of you are probably wondering: Why now? We struggled with whether we would delay the game. But from the beginning, we have adopted the attitude that we will not compromise on quality. As we got closer to release, as all the pieces of the puzzle were falling into place in our last push before completion, it became clear to us that we needed to take the extra time to polish and fine tune each detail so we can deliver a truly memorable and exceptional experience.
The delay sees the game pushed back to early 2014 with no formal release date yet announced, and means customers who had pre-ordered next-generation consoles with Watch_Dogs as a bundled title will now not be receiving their orders. Retailers have spoken up to reassure buyers that their consoles are safe, however, with most allowing those who hold Watch_Dogs pre-orders to swap it for another game or to receive the console without a bundled game at a reduced price.
A similar delay has also hit Ubisoft's upcoming racing game The Crew, which was originally scheduled for spring 2014 but will not now be released until the company's following financial year - meaning April at the absolute earliest.
'Our long term goal is to win the next generation. The tough decisions we are taking today to fully realise the major potential of our new creations have an impact on our short-term performance,
' warned Ubisoft chief executive Yves Guillemot in a statement to investors. 'We are convinced that, longer term, they will prove to be the right decisions both in terms of satisfaction for our fans and in terms of value creation for our shareholders.
'We are building franchises that will become perennial pillars of Ubisoft’s financial performance. In a context of growing successes for mega-blockbusters, the additional time given to the development of our titles will allow them to fulfil their huge ambitions and thus offer players even more exceptional experiences.